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Joint Statement on the Syrian Arab Republic

JOINT STATEMENT on behalf of Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Sweden and Norway, 19 September 2016

Mr. President,

I have the honour to speak on behalf of the Nordic countries; Finland, Iceland, Norway, Sweden and my own country, Denmark.

We remain deeply concerned with the conflict in Syria. We strongly condemn the continued abuses and violations of human rights and violations of international humanitarian law in Syria. The Syrian regime's systematic targeting of civilians and civilian infrastructures, including schools and medical facilities must stop. The use of chemical weapons by the regime and ISIL/Daesh, confirmed by the UN and OPCW, are horrendous acts. Those responsible must be held accountable.

We are disturbed by the political detentions and the enforced disappearance of  tens of thousands of people.  According to reports, widespread and systematic use of torture and other ill-treatment persist in government detention facilities; amounting to crimes against humanity.

We strongly support the independent work of the Commission of Inquiry in Syria – and we urge the Syrian regime to cooperate with the Commission and grant it unhindered access to the country.

It is deeply disturbing that the attempts to end the violence in Syria have not led to a lasting solution to the conflict so far. We call upon all actors in Syria to engage constructively in the process that must lead to a political solution of the conflict and a genuine political transition in line with UNSRC 2254.

The Nordic countries welcome the Cessation of Hostilities announced by the co-chairs of the International Syria Support Group. We urge all parties to commit to the agreement and allow desperately needed humanitarian access to besieged areas of Syria.

We fully support the UN's mediation efforts led by Special Envoy Staffan de Mistura towards a political solution. We also echo the Commission’s view that Syrian women must participate fully in political negotiations, in line with Security Council Resolution 1325 and subsequent resolutions.

The Commission has addressed the impact that the conflict has on children and the enjoyment of their human rights. It has given some horrendous examples of the suffering they endure. Mr. Pinheiro, how can international community ensure that child recruitment is put to an end?

A peace process needs to go hand in hand with justice. Those responsible for war crimes, crimes against humanity or other violations or abuses must be held accountable. We call on the Security Council to refer the situation to the International Criminal Court.

Thank you, Mr. President.